Wednesday, June 17, 2009

AIRSHOW-UPDATE 1-Mubadala in GE deal, seeks partnerships

* Mubadala not interested in buying stakes in partners
* Signs maintenance partnership deal with GE Aviation
By Helen Massy-Beresford and John Bowker
PARIS, June 17 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi state investment agency Mubadala Development said on Wednesday it was interested in partnerships with leading aerospace groups but denied a report it planned to take stakes in major European aerospace companies.
"Partnering with the world's leading aerospace organisations forms an integral part of the long-term strategy we are taking," Aerospace Associate Director Homaid Al Shemmari said at the Paris Air Show on Wednesday.
"Building a global aerospace industry for Abu Dhabi is a key part of the emirate's diversification," he added.
But he denied a news wire report quoting him as saying that Mubadala may consider buying stakes in partners such as EADS (EAD.PA), Finmeccanica (SIFI.MI) and Rolls-Royce (RR.L).
"We are not interested in taking equity stakes in any of our current partners. Our current model is for partnerships and joint ventures with a focus on Abu Dhabi," Al Shemmari told Reuters.
He was speaking after signing a maintenance partnership deal with General Electric (GE.N) unit GE Aviation, the world's largest maker of jet engines, that will see GE supply support and services while Mubadala builds a maintenance network for GEnx engines.
This is the latest in a series of aerospace deals by the Abu Dhabi investment fund as the world's fifth-largest oil producer seeks to diversify its economy.
GE and Mubadala did not give any financial details of the deal, which forms part of a broader partnership the two groups agreed last year.
GE Vice Chairman John Rice said the group would not limit the areas where the company would consider future collaboration with Mubadala.
The groups are analysing the market and looking at how revenue will be split between them in the next few months, Mubadala's Al Shemmari said.
Last July, Mubadala forged a deal with Airbus parent EADS to provide parts for wide-body aircraft from a composites plant that Mubadala plans to open from next year.
Ultimately, large aircraft structures will be designed, developed and manufactured in Abu Dhabi.
Mubadala said on Sunday it would start the first phase of the plant later this month and that it would be operational in 2010. Partnerships had been formed with EADS, Airbus, FACC and Alenia Aeronautica, part of Finmeccanica.
At the Farnborough Air Show a year ago, Abu Dhabi national airline Etihad place a $10 billion order for Airbus planes.
Although the industrial deals are not officially linked, the plane purchase was finalised in December in what experts described as a landmark agreement that could see EADS producing part of its next generation of jets in Abu Dhabi.

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